For lots of students choosing a topic for an essay can be the hardest part, and a big road-block, especially if the teacher doesn’t offer much guidance. But by walking through these questions and answering them for yourself and your class, you can help narrow down your possibilities.
Even if your teacher isn’t providing a prompt for your essay, chances are they have given some requirements or instructions for it. Be sure to keep these in mind as you go about choosing a topic, because no matter how well you do writing it, if it isn’t meeting the assignment requirements your grade will suffer.
This can help to focus your topic in from a general idea to something more specific. There are many different kinds of essays, including research papers, analytical papers, compare and contrast papers, and opinion papers. For instance, for the same subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a research paper would provide a comprehensive review of historical events and key persons, where an analytical paper might examine how natural resources have influenced the contact.
Any time you are assigned a paper without a clear topic it is an opportunity for you to choose something that you are interested in. Not only will it make the whole writing process much more enjoyable for you, which will likely show and help your grade, it can provide a good foundation for something you are interested in studying in the future. If you’ve been assigned a general topic, but are struggling to narrow it down, asking yourself what you find most interesting, intriguing, or even confusing about the topic can be very helpful.
Before you get too far into choosing a topic, you’ll want to check to make sure that there are sufficient sources on it before moving forward. Sources will be more important for certain kinds of papers, such as research papers, than others. However, even for an analytical or opinion essay, having sources to back up some of your claims can add another level of thought to it. But if you are unable to find good sources on your subject easily, chances are you’ll waste a lot of time hunting them down if you pursue it.